Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's walk-off win vs Yankees in extras

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's walk-off win vs Yankees in extras

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OAKLAND — After the news they were processing as they took the field Thursday night, maybe A’s players had this one coming to them.

Khris Davis’ bloop two-run single dropped in center field to score two runs and lift the A’s to a walk-off 8-7 victory over the New York Yankees.

The A’s let four different leads slip away in a game that went nearly four-and-a-half hours. They eventually won it by using the reverse formula — fall behind and then rally for a comeback to snap a three-game losing streak.

The A’s were down to their last out when Rajai Davis singled. Chad Pinder doubled and Jed Lowrie was intentionally walked. That brought up Davis, who hit a blooper into shallow center fielder. Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro almost pulled it in but the ball glanced off his glove and Davis and Pinder scored the tying and winning runs.

On Thursday afternoon, longtime A’s pitching coach Curt Young was let go in a surprise move and veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe — a popular clubhouse presence — was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for young third baseman Matt Chapman.

Oakland jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Yankees came back to tie it.

The A’s went back up 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. New York answered in the top of the seventh. Chad Pinder’s RBI single made it 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh. You can guess by now what happened in the top of the eighth.

Then Matt Joyce beat out a fielder’s choice grounder with the bases loaded with Yankees closer Dellin Betances on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, only to have Gary Sanchez knot the game once gain with a tying single off Santiago Casilla.

Here’s five things you need to know from Thursday’s game:

Chapman’s debut is a mixed bag: The A’s are ready to give their No. 3 prospect a chance to establish himself as their starting third baseman. He batted seventh in his major league debut and drew two walks as part of an 0-for-3 night. He drew a free pass in his first plate appearance and came around to score his first run on Adam Rosales’ two-run double. There was little action that came his way in the field. He fielded Aaron Judge’s grounder and whipped a strong throw across the diamond to retire him in the seventh . Chapman made a cameo on the mound while playing for Team USA in his college days and hit the high 90’s with his fastball. The rookie had a chance to be a hero in the ninth, batting with the bases loaded and two outs, but he went down on three pitches against Dellin Betances, and the game went to extras.

Judge has a quiet night: In his first game at the Coliseum, Northern California native (and Triple Crown contender) Aaron Judge struck out three times against Oakland as part of his 1-for-4 game. The Yankees right fielder drew quite a cheering section for batting practice, and he parked at least two tape-measure drives into the second deck in left, over a row of luxury suites.

Getting it right vs. lefties: Yonder Alonso’s 17th homer came on a 2-0 pitch from Jordan Montgomery in the sixth. Alonso is just 8-for-35(.229) against lefties this season, but six of those eight are for extra-base hits, including four homers.

Big inning bites Sonny again: When trouble hits for Sonny Gray, it tends to strike quickly. He blanked the Yankees over the first five innings before New York scored three and chased him in the sixth to tie it 3-3. It was the third start in a row in which Gray has allowed three runs in the sixth. Before that, Cleveland got to him for four in the fourth and three in the third back on May 30. The right-hander went 5 1/3 innings Thursday and gave up three runs on eight hits, walking three and running his pitch count to 100 by the time he exited in the sixth.

A’s stung by an old nemesis: Remember Chris Carter? The former Athletic always seems to hurt his old team. He homered off John Axford to tie it 5-5. The slugger has 13 home runs and 42 RBI in 58 career games against Oakland.

Khris Davis leaves (and receives) lasting impression with special fan

Khris Davis leaves (and receives) lasting impression with special fan

OAKLAND -- Baseball is just a game. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you are battling for playoff position and every game matters. 

For Oakland A’s slugger Khris Davis, he was reminded of this fact during pregame on Monday evening when a special guest dropped by the dugout to meet him. 

Anthony Slocumb, a sixth grader from Claremont Middle School in Oakland, is a big-time fan of Davis. He’s also in remission after battling a rare cancer called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

Before the game, Slocumb met Davis as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and asked for an autograph. Davis returned the favor, having the 10-year-old sign the back of his jersey before the A’s took on the Texas Rangers.

With blue ink sprawled across the back of his uniform, Davis stepped to the plate and gave Slocumb an incredible memory to hold onto, blasting a towering shot into the left field bleachers.

“There was a lot of emotion with those kid’s situation,” Davis said following the game. “It’s the worst situation you can be in, probably. I just wanted to put a smile on his face and thought maybe it would mean something if I had him my jersey signed by him.” 

These events play out often in professional sports, but Davis was moved by his experience Monday. The A’s leader in home runs crushed a ball that careened off a luxury box window an estimated 438 feet from home plate.

As he rounded the bases, he did so with a his newly found friend in mind. 

“I thought about him around the bases,” Davis said. “There’s not a better feeling than hitting a home run. And if he got some excitement and joy from watching that ... I hope he saw it.”  

Davis only had a few minutes to spend with Slocumb before the game, but it left him energized. The home run was Davis' 37th of the season, tying for second place in the majors, one behind the Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez. 

When asked whether he considered swapping out for a new jersey before the game, Davis gave a definitive - “no.” 

“I wanted to rock that. I wanted him to know I was thinking about him,” Davis said. 

The A’s are having a season of big moments. Coming away with a 9-0 win over the Rangers is great for the win/loss record, but for one fan, this was a game he’ll never forget. 

A's notes: Ramon Laureano leads Oakland power surge with two homers

A's notes: Ramon Laureano leads Oakland power surge with two homers

OAKLAND — The A’s keep rolling. After taking two of three against the Houston Astros over the weekend, Oakland’s hitters jumped all over Rangers starter Bartolo Colon Monday evening at the Coliseum.

With Mike Fiers dealing on the mound, the A’s position players crushed Colon for seven earned runs on 10 hits over five innings, coming away with a 9-0 win to improve to 75-50 on the season. 

--- A First and a Blast - Ramon Laureano got in on the power surge early, hitting his first big-league homer in the second inning off the top of the right field scoreboard. It was a nice moment for the rookie, but it was completely overshadowed by a shot from Kris Davis in the third. Davis crushed his 37th homer of the season an estimated 437 feet to left center field. The shot came off the bat of the A’s DH at an estimated 111 mph exit speed at a 28-degree angle and hit off the windows of a suite. The ball might have hit a BART train if not for Mount Davis impeding its path.  

--- Chasing J.D. - With home run No. 37, Davis is now tied for second place in the majors with Cleveland’s José Ramírez. The two sluggers trail Boston’s J.D. Martinez, who has 38 homers on the season. Davis is one RBI away from 100, which would give him three straight seasons in Oakland with 37-plus home runs and a 100 or more RBI.

--- Not to be Outdone - Laureano crushed a three-run blast in the six inning off of Colon for the first multi-homer game of his career. The 23-year-old center fielder finished the night 2-for-4 with the pair of jacks and five RBI. 

--- Starters on Fier - Mike Fiers picked up his second win in three starts as a member of the A's. He gave up a double to lead off the second inning, but then shut down the final 18 hitters he faced to pick up the victory. Oakland starters are now 10-2 over their last 18 games and have yielded two runs or fewer 15 times over that stretch. 

--- Stay Hot - With the win, Oakland improved to 41-14 over the last 55 games. They came into the evening tied with Boston for the best record in the majors over that stretch, but with the Red Sox' loss to the Indians, the A’s now lead by a game. 

--- Quiet Night - The official attendance on the evening was just 9,341. With the A’s battling for a playoff spot, the numbers have been all over the board.